When thinking of self-care, most don’t think of the dentist. But did you know that signs of stress, health issues, and more can be noticed within your mouth? Even if you’re not experiencing any dental issues, it is important to maintain regular check-ups.
Twice annual appointments really do matter
Visiting twice a year keeps your mouth’s bacteria level lower than can be achieved with at-home care. These routine visits allow your provider to catch things early before they develop into larger issues.
Dental hygienists use instruments that reach areas you cannot, getting below the gum line to clean out bad bacteria and removing built-up tartar. An oral exam checks for gum health, level of oral care, and signs of oral cancer.
Your mouth can tell on you—and that’s a good thing!
Providers look for changes in gum tissues, which can help diagnose underlying issues. Changes in the color of tissues may indicate vitamin or iron deficiencies. Frequent mouth ulcers may be a sign to talk to your doctor about autoimmune diseases. Excessive grinding can indicate stress or restless sleep. If there is an unusual decay, it can be tied to nutrition.
Not taking the time for oral care can impact the rest of your body
Poor dental health increases the risk of bacterial infection in the bloodstream, which can impact your heart. Poor oral hygiene can also impact the health of an unborn child, including their birth weight, so don’t skip a cleaning while pregnant! Additionally, not prioritizing your oral care might contribute to various diseases and conditions, including endocarditis, cardiovascular disease, and pneumonia. And if you have any of the following health issues, it is important to offer your mouth a little extra support. Those would include if you are dealing with diabetes, HIV/AIDS, osteoporosis, or Alzheimer’s disease.
What to expect from your provider
Expect a comprehensive exam of teeth, gums, and your mouth. They often take X-rays and perform an oral cancer screening. Most importantly, your provider should spend time getting to know you, answering any questions, and explaining your options. You should leave with your mouth feeling fresh!
Keeping up good oral self-care at home
Maximize the impact of your visits to the dentist at home. Include into your routine:
- Flossing properly (or start flossing)
- Brush your teeth AND gently brush the gum line too.
- Pay attention to changes in your mouth like new sensitivities, feelings, or textures and report them to your dental team.
By Dr. Wade Clayton and Dr. Drew Mefford of Bellano Dental Health, which is locally owned with three locations and specializes in preventive, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry with a team that is passionate about people and particular about teeth. For more information or to request an appointment, go to Bellanodental.com.